I used to subscribe to a lot of magazines, but over the years I’ve let all the subscriptions lapse. If I really want to read something, I pick it up on a newsstand, or read it online. One of the great things about my Kindle, for instance, is how I can grab an individual issue of something like The Nation or Mother Jones when I’m on vacation, and not have to deal with another physical piece of media that’s going to take up space in my bag.
I’ve found that I most frequently read magazines when I’m on airplanes (which is about twice a month, it turns out), so I usually pick up the latest WIRED or Scientific American or Mental_Floss when I’m on my way to the gate, read it, and leave it behind for the next passenger to enjoy.
But I know that magazines rely on subscriptions, and subscribing to things I really like is a good way to support that publication’s writers, editors, and staff, so I recently went ahead and subscribed to Popular Science and Mental Floss. When I signed up, I specifically requested that my information not be shared, rented, given, sold, gifted, delivered, or handed off in a dark alleyway dead drop to any third parties. Because I know that publishers don’t always honor these requests, I use unique and humorous names when I subscribe to magazines, so I know who isn’t honoring my requests.
So far, Mental_Floss is doing a great job not sharing my information. But Popular Science? Not so much. this delightful bit of junk mail showed up yesterday, along with my latest issue:
This is incredibly annoying, and violates the trust I placed in the magazine when I decided to give them my money. Awesomeface Wheaton will not be renewing his subscription, and now I get to enjoy months of telling all the third parties that Popular Science gave my information to that I don’t want their bullshit.
Look, print publications, you’re fighting with Internet and digital for eyeballs every single day. When you do shit like this, it just hastens your demise.
Don’t be a dick, magazine publishers. Do not share my information means do not share my information.